SVA Spotlight Brief #3 Offers Insights Into Benefits and Barriers for Military Service Connected Students

For veterans and military connected students military service comes with both potential benefits and barriers to their academic careers. Benefits could include academic credit for military training or service-connected soft skills developed that may be transferable in an academic setting. Potential barriers include unplanned interruptions to their enrollment due to academic withdrawals or leave of absences because of unexpected changes to military orders or deployments.


This month’s SVA Spotlight Brief, explores some of these benefits and barriers through data acquired as part of a national sample of student veterans from the SVA 2015 Census.

Average GPA

Much research on student veteran transition focuses on the emotional and academic adjustment of veterans to a university setting, neglecting items such as awarding credits for military training and the effects of military connected interruptions in enrollment. This brief highlights some of these neglected areas. In addition, the brief also examines more common situations student veterans share with traditional and non-traditional students, such as GPA and transferring schools.


one credit 36Among the findings, the popular notion about student veterans receiving academic credits for military training is explored, showing that while some student veterans reported receiving several academic credits for their military service, most received credit for the equivalent of only one academic class or less for their military training. This represents an opportunity for review and engagement with colleges and universities about recommendations for awarding college credit for military experience, and transparency in the process of requesting such credit, and how colleges and universities evaluate and award such transfer credits.


We also found that while portions of the student veteran population have disruptions in enrollment due to their past military duties and many transfer at least once in their academic careers, many student veterans still report high academic performance.


Perhaps the largest takeaway from this brief is the value of student veterans and military connected students proactively communicating their unique situations to their schools, so that the schools can best support them and update policies and procedures as needed.


Download the full research brief.


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